Co-Founder of the Blue Army
In 1946, John returned from Fatima where he interviewed Sr. Lucia, the remaining Fatima seer, and learned from her about the still little known apparition of Our Lady. Carrying with him a newly drafted “March of Pledges,” he returned to the U.S. full of enthusiasm to spread the message of penance, prayer and devotion to the Immaculate Heart he had learned about. John’s goal became to spread Our Lady’s message through the pledge, conferences and writings.
In 1946, the pastor of St. Mary’s Church, in Plainfield, New Jersey, Msgr. Harold V. Colgan, had a near-death experience. He was so affected by this experience that he made a promise to Our Lady: he would spend the rest of his life promoting devotion to her under her title of “Our Lady of Fatima” should he regain his health.
To fulfill his promise, Msgr. Colgan asked his parishioners who had signed the March of Pledges to wear something blue as an outward sign that they would proudly “stand up and be counted on Our Lady’s side in the struggle with the powers of evil.”
John Haffert was invited to speak at Msgr. Colgan’s church. There John met the monsignor. When Msgr. Colgan saw the church full of people wearing the color blue, Msgr. Colgan pronounced, “We will be the blue army of Our Lady against the Red Armies of atheism”. They quickly became good friends and began to work together to establish a lay organization to more efficiently spread the message of Fatima. This was the birth of the official “Blue Army of Our Lady of Fatima.”
Under the leadership of Mr. Haffert, and armed with the March of the Pledges, the Blue Army rapidly expanded. Chapters were founded all over the world, and the March of the Pledges, now called The Blue Army Pledge, grew rapidly in membership. In one year, over one million people had signed the pledge. Soon, the number increased to over forty million members.